Lemons to Lemon Aide
This is the chronicled adventures in starting over, moving on to new life in Alaskan Interior.
I was asked to write this article by chance. This chance encounter happened last week because it’s almost August 1. This is the time of year when my thoughts are turning to happy childhood memories of the Swiss Independence Day Picnic in Newark California. The sites, smells and music filled the air while my sisters and I ran and played with other children in the picnic area. The laughter and singing often filled the air as the picnic visitors connected with the traditions of the homeland they left behind.
One way of feeling closer to my cultural heritage began last week with in search of local Swiss events in the Alaskan interior The success was finding an a Swiss restaurant and inn located in Talkeenta. According to Google maps it will be a 4 and ½ hour drive from North Pole.
Now the craving hit for Swiss chocolate Specifically Bruggli.. These chocolates were sold at the magazine stands at the Swiss Train stations. Sometimes these treats were given by relatives, as we traveled in the German speaking parts of Switzerland. Sometimes they were passed out at the Swiss Club house in Mill Valley during Christmas and Easter. The confections were freshly handcrafter by Phillip Myer. He was a Swiss chocolatier that immigrated to the Bay Area many years ago. I fondly remember noticing how his eyes lit up and the big smile that crossed his face during Easter Egg hunts.
My name is Karla Anderson-Weber. I am a first generation Swiss-American. My childhood was spent growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area. My dad grew up in Art Goldau my mom grew up in Schubelbach.
I left California in 1993 heading for Alaska. I spent an extended time in Washington helping out on a friend of the family’s farm in Bellingham.
I ran out of money. It was time to find work. Life slowly began to happen.
In the last 20 plus years in Washington have brought much happiness and great sadness with the highlights having two wonderful two daughters ages 12 and 15. The second is having the opportunity to return to college and obtain a bachelors degree from The Evergreen State College. The third was living in the Olympic Mountains.
My total time in Washington was 22 years. The last 10 years have some major success and some epic implosions this included loosing a husband to the meth epidemic that has hit the Pacific North West.
The economic recession made finding work difficult. I spent one year in post bachelor studies from 2011-12. The best I could come up with was substitute work for the local school district in Olympia. I was grateful for the work.
The work that I loved the most was being a Para Educator. The time spent in the resource classroom helping non traditional learners grasp challenging concepts was the most fulfilling. The exciting moment when the light learning is sparks in a young person is the most rewarding feeling I have ever experienced. However the income was inconsistent I needed full time work.
It was time for a change.
The opportunity for change came in October of 2014. I received word of a solid job offer. It was an Ameri corps Vista position at Access Alaska working on resource develpment for the Youth in Transition program. The program focused exclusively on supporting youth with different types of disabilities.
The first step and the hardest part was letting go of the wonderful relationships we had developed over the many years in Washington. Even though I am very grateful for the innovation of Face book bring closure was still difficult.